Car Accident Lawsuit Steps
Car accidents frequently result in property damage and financial losses. Crash damages are even worse when there are injuries. Liable parties should be held accountable for accident losses, but responsible drivers rarely admit fault, and insurance companies frequently offer insufficient settlements.
Oftentimes, the best way to maximize compensation after a car accident is by filing a civil lawsuit. People may hesitate to take legal action because they aren’t sure what to expect. Here, car accident lawyers from the Foley Law Firm discuss car accident lawsuit steps, so that drivers in Scranton, Stroudsburg, and Wilkes-Barre, PA, have a general understanding of the legal process.
Step One: A Complaint Is Filed
A car accident lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint. The act of filing a complaint does not take much time. The plaintiff needs to fill out legal documents and file them with the civil court within the county where the car accident took place.
Although the filing does not require a lot of time, ensuring that the complaint is solid and that there is enough evidence to prove the case is a different story. We strongly recommend that accident victims work with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer, such as those at the Foley Law Firm, when filing an accident claim. Lawyers investigate the details of the claim and ensure that the facts support the case being made.
Step Two: The Defendant Answers the Complaint
After the plaintiff files a claim, the defendant is notified and given time to answer the complaint. The answer is the defendant’s opportunity to respond to accusations and list out any affirmative defenses, as well as make any counterclaims. Generally, the defendant has about a month to compose their response.
Step Three: Discovery
During the discovery phase of a car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff and defendant work on strengthening their cases by continuing to gather evidence and conduct depositions (with experts and witnesses).
Throughout discovery, lawyers of the plaintiff and defendant exchange information so that they are able to thoroughly prepare their case based on the evidence and arguments that will be presented by the other side. Depending on the complexity of a claim, discovery can be completed in a matter of months, or it may continue for upwards of a year or more.
Step Four: Negotiations and Potential Settlement
Prior to trial, lawyers are able to negotiate in an attempt to reach a settlement. A settlement is often reached after the discovery phase, once evidence emerges that shows the strength of the plaintiff’s case.
Step Five: Trial
It is nice when a settlement can be reached because it saves time and court fees. However, our lawyers are always prepared to go to court on behalf of our clients. If negotiations do not result in a settlement, a trial is scheduled.
During the trial, each side has the opportunity to present its case. At the conclusion of the trial, a judgment is made for the plaintiff or defendant. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, a settlement is ordered. Car accident trials typically only take a few days to complete.
Request a Legal Consultation
If you are considering filing a car accident lawsuit and would like more information about the process, the lawyers at the Foley Law Firm would be happy to meet with you to discuss your case. To request a legal consultation, contact our law firm online, or call (570) 342-8194 at your earliest convenience.